Travel agents in China are preparing for the loosening of the unofficial travel ban to Korea, which will be good news for cruise operators in the China market.
Agents speaking off the record said relations were starting to warm up, and they were expecting to be able to re-add Korean products to their offering.
Earlier this year the installation of a missile defense system by South Korea had a ripple effect for the cruise industry, as Chinese travel agents pulled cruises that had calls to South Korea.
Agents were forced to issue costly refunds and cruise lines had to modify itineraries. Chinese passengers balked at the idea of substituting sea days for Japanese ports when they had booked cruises that included Korea.
“Some passengers were willing to accept the changes, but there are many who specifically wanted to visit South Korea,” said Kai Wang, vice president of cruise at Tongcheng.
Chinese customers officials have also relaxed restrictions on Korean physical goods.